Changes coming to some Skype users in January

If you use Skype and Facebook and you are logging into Skype with Facebook, you will have to replace your Facebook account in Skype with a Microsoft ID [account] such as one used for Email [Hotmail/Live] by January 10th.

[I personally don’t know anyone who is logging into Skype with a Facebook account.]
So as of January 11th, you can only use a Skype name or a Microsoft ID account.

Microsoft claims they have 300 million registered Skype users [out of 1 billion Microsoft IDs]. This will drop the total a bit.

How do you know what kind of account you have? Well, if configured, the upper left corner of your main screen gives you and indication. Skype names should just be your login name. Microsoft ID accounts may be your Email address or something that begins with “Live:”. You can verify by going into your profile.

 

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Miscellaneous computer tips – Volume 9

Where to find pinned links

Always wonder where you can find your pinned links at the top of the Start menu or in the Task Bar? For whatever infinite wisdom Microsoft did, they placed them both under Internet Explorer and not [say] Windows Explorer. Even worse, if you drill down to “User Pinned” in one of the two paths below, “User Pinned” is a hidden folder. Why?

Below, replace your_user_name with the account you log in.

C:\Users\your_user_name\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch\User Pinned\StartMenu

C:\Users\your_user_name\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch\User Pinned\TaskBar

Note: You can only have valid shortcut links in the folder.

Firefox Send

Mozilla has released a new web tool called Firefox Send. Nothing to install.

You upload a file and it gets encrypted. You then provide the link to someone.

Once they download it or after 24 hours after uploading, it automatically gets deleted. You can download a file more than once.

Works with Firefox [not surprised] and Chrome. Not with Internet Explorer or Edge.

Windmail.dat in Outlook

When you see a WINMAIL.DAT attachment it means that these issues are caused by TNEF. TNEF is Transport Neutral Encapsulation Format that is used by Outlook for Windows and Exchange Server for Exchange specific features such as voting buttons.
When you are using Outlook with POP/IMAP/EAS account you can use the registry settings below to disable TNEF.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\xx.0\Outlook\Preferences]
“DisableTNEF”=dword:00000001

Notes:

  • xx.0 in this registry path corresponds to the Outlook version (16.0 = Outlook 2016, 15.0 = Outlook 2013, 14.0 = Outlook 2010).
  • This is a per user setting. So it has to be done for each user on a shared computer.
  • If you upgrade your version of Office [or Outlook] you need to reapply with the correct version.

By disabling TNEF, the following features will not work:

  • Task Request message will be replaced by a normal message.
  • Custom forms can’t be used and scripts and properties will be removed.
  • Embedded OLE (Object Linking and Embedding) in a message won’t be use. Instead, these are replaced by pictures.
  • Voting buttons may be used but recipients may not see any buttons.

As usual, use at your own risk. See the Notes page regarding making changes to your system.

Microsoft’s Malicious Software Removal Tool pulled

Microsoft has pulled the Malicious Software Removal Tool [version 5.54] from yesterday [November 14]. Unsure what the issue is about.

But when I ran it on one computer, it detected that Skype [version 7.40.0.104] was fishy.

If you ran MSRT already you may be required to run it again when re-released. If your computer is updated before the re-release, you will be notified of a further update once MSRT is re-released.

skype-msrt

This issue may only be with the full download. The Windows Update version may not be affected. However, for example, in Windows 7 it is optional.

[Update 2017/11/15:] That didn’t take long. Microsoft released updates today.

 

Apps issue with Windows 10 Fall Creator Update

After installing the Fall Creators Update, some app entries may be missing in the Start menu. They also won’t appear in the App list or in the Tiles. The Microsoft Store will show the app is installed but nowhere else.

Note: This will not affect applications installed the old fashion way [not installed at the Microsoft store but either downloaded from a third-party site or from physical media].

Microsoft is looking into the problem. While they investigate here are some workarounds.

Try #1: If not showing up in the Start menu or Tiles.

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Click on Apps.
  3. Click on Apps & features.
  4. Select the app that you are having a problem with. Click the Advanced options link.
  5. Click on the Repair button.

For whatever reason, if the Repair button isn’t available or may not have fixed the problem, click on the Reset button. This will delete the app’s data along with settings and preferences.

Try #2: If the above didn’t work, re-installing.

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Click on Apps.
  3. Click on Apps & features.
  4. Select the app that you are having a problem with. Click on the Uninstall button.
  5. Click on the Uninstall button to confirm the uninstallation.
  6. Once done, open the Store app.
  7. Search for the app you just uninstalled and Click the Get button to reinstall the app. Once you’ve completed the installation, the app should now appear in the Start menu and Tiles again.

Try #3: If many are missing:

The two methods outlined above are more suited if you only have a few apps missing, but if your Start menu has a lot of apps missing, it’s recommended to re-register them all in bulk using PowerShell.

Note: Make sure you close all applications you have open [especially My People. Otherwise you will get  error message 0X80073D02 during the process.

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for PowerShell, right-click the result, and select Run as administrator.
  3. Type [copy and paste] the following commands to re-register the missing apps and press Enter on each line:

reg delete “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\TileDataModel\Migration\TileStore” /va /f

get-appxpackage -packageType bundle |% {add-appxpackage -register -disabledevelopmentmode ($_.installlocation + “\appxmetadata\appxbundlemanifest.xml”)}

$bundlefamilies = (get-appxpackage -packagetype Bundle).packagefamilyname
get-appxpackage -packagetype main |? {-not ($bundlefamilies -contains

$_.packagefamilyname)} |% {add-appxpackage -register -disabledevelopmentmode ($_.installlocation + “\appxmanifest.xml”)}

After completing the steps mentioned above, all the missing apps should now appear in the Start menu. However, according to Microsoft, if you’ve already tried the repair, reset, and reinstall options, the PowerShell commands are likely not going to fix the problem.

As usual, use at your own risk. Backup and take other precautions. See the “About” page for further information.

 

Miscellaneous computer tips – Volume 8

OneDrive Files On-Demand Client Missing in v1709

New to the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update is OneDrive Files On-Demand. It allows users to access all their files in the cloud locally without having to download files and use storage space on their devices, but some may not see it because the user experience is part of a separate client.

You can grab the client here.

Extend the Time that Windows 10 Removes the Old Windows 10

As you know, with installations of Windows 10 that upgraded from a previous operating system, you were allowed up to 30 days before your old operating system was automatically removed from your system.

This allowed you time to verify that Windows 10 would work with your software and hardware.

In subsequent “feature” updates [i.e. v1703 to v1709], that time frame was reduced to 10 days since it is assumed that everything should work when going from Windows 10 to the next feature update.

The 10 days is actually set in a task in the Task scheduler called SetupCleaningTask which can be found in \Microsoft\Windows\Setup. it is configured to run every 5 days and verify that 10 days have passed since the feature update was installed.

It is suggested to manually edit the task and change it from one-time, start immediately, every 5 days, indefinitely to one-time, start 30 days from now, every 1 days.

Verifying your License in Windows

Ever wondered about the licensing of your copy of Windows?  Try below and wait for a window to pop up.

slmgr.vbs -dlv

Most will not be of use with the exception of the name, description, partial product key [make sure it matches your computer’s label if you didn’t change operating systems] and the license status.

 

Miscellaneous computer tips – Volume 7

Privacy Settings

If you are upgrading to Windows 10 Fall Creator Update a.k.a. v1709, Redstone 3], you will need to reapply any privacy settings that you may have previously applied.

My favorite tool is SpyBot’s Anti-Beacon which you can grab here.

There are also other tools that can do the job. But note that you may want to make sure you have the latest version as Microsoft may have modified some areas of Windows between versions [for example, different registry key, different service name, etc.].

Windows Media Player Missing

One of the changes in the Windows 10 Fall Creator Update [a.k.a. v1709, Redstone 3] is that Windows Media Player is not part of the default installation or if Windows 10 is bought with a new computer [note that it is still there for upgrades]. Most people are OK with that as they use replacement software that’s probably a bit more modern.

But if you want to have it, it is easily available. But strangely, unlike some applications that were pulled and sent to the Windows Store [such as the original Paint], this one is still around as part of the installation media.

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go to Apps > Apps & features.
  3. On the right, click on Manage optional features.
  4. Click on Add a feature button at the top of the next page.
  5. Find the optional feature named Windows Media Player in the list under Add a feature. Click on it.
  6. The install button will appear. Click on the Install button, wait a minute or two and you are done.

Now if you have it installed but never use it, you can also remove it by the similar method above.

Alternatively, if you are a bit of a Windows expert, you can install or uninstall using PowerShell.

Open an elevated PowerShell.

To install, use:

Enable-WindowsOptionalFeature -FeatureName “WindowsMediaPlayer” -All -Online

To uninstall, use:

Disable-WindowsOptionalFeature -FeatureName “WindowsMediaPlayer” -Online

Downloaded ISO, Install from USB

If you download a Microsoft ISO of Windows 10 [or for that matter even Windows 7 or Windows 8.1], how do you transfer the installation disc to a USB key?

Well, Microsoft has had a tool since 2009 to do so. Called Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool, it was originally it was at the Microsoft Store. Then they transferred it to the CodePlex site [owned by Microsoft and primarily for developers]. In November 2017, the page will be going read-only – unsure if there will be further updates or where it will be.

In the meantime, you can download it here.

You require a USB key of 8GB or greater [4GB may not fit the 64-bit OSs].

Note: The tool will wipe out the contents of the USB key first.

Tip: If you know where to download the latest Cumulative Update for the OS you are installing, create a folder on the USB key called Updates. Dump the Cumulative Update into it. Boot off the USB key with the OS. Don’t attached a network cable or connect to a wireless network. It should install the Cumulative Update from the USB key. One less thing to do later.

Issue with latest Windows 10 v1703 update

You may want to hold off on updating to the latest [patch Tuesday] monthly update released on October 10th if using the v1703 edition (Build 15063; “Creator Update”, Redstone 2) of Windows 10.

Systems with support enabled for USB Type-C Connector System Software Interface (UCSI) may experience a blue screen or stop responding with a black screen when a system shutdown is initiated.

Microsoft has yet to release a fix but the temporary solution is to disable UCSI in the computer system’s BIOS. This will also disable UCSI features in the Windows operating system.